clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kickstarter competitor Gamefound doubled its tabletop crowdfunding revenue in 2023

Consumer appetite for crowdfunding appears to be bigger than ever before

A xenomorph-like female-presenting alien monster, at least 20 feet tall to scale, fills a room with two possible exits. A space marine enters, woefully unprepared. The scene is from a board game, with smoke for effects. Image: Awaken Realms via YouTube
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

While a recent report shows a second year of declining tabletop revenues at Kickstarter, consumer appetite for crowdfunded tabletop games may actually be increasing. Data shared with Polygon shows that Poland-based upstart Gamefound had a record year in 2023, with revenues from crowdfunding soaring by nearly 98% to $56 million last year. Taken alongside Kickstarter’s own haul of a reported $226.2 million, that could make 2023 the biggest year ever for tabletop crowdfunding.

Of course, that’s without taking into account the tabletop crowdfunding dollars raised by BackerKit, which made waves by directly courting disaffected Kickstarter users. High-profile converts include Gloomhaven and Frosthaven publisher Cephalofair Games, which brought in more than $5 million for the multi-title project Gloomhaven: Grand Festival on BackerKit. The San Francisco-based startup launched its own crowdfunding platform out of beta in July 2023. Polygon has asked the company to share its data as well.

Most significant for Gamefound, however, is the fact that four of its campaigns ranked among 2023’s 10 most-funded tabletop projects on any platform.

“I would say 2023 was a breakthrough year for us,” founder Marcin Świerkot told Polygon. “Still A LOT to do and we are nowhere near our final vision, but 2023 was kind to us and we are very hopeful for 2024!”

Top 10 tabletop campaigns on Gamefound in 2023

Name Creator Funds raised Backers
Name Creator Funds raised Backers
Nemesis: Retaliation Awaken Realms $12,183,711 41,408
The Elder Scrolls: Betrayal of the Second Era Chip Theory Games $4,683,008 14,982
The Witcher: Path of Destiny Go On Board $4,416,654 29,739
STALKER: The Board Game Awaken Realms $3,768,306 15,146
Dragon Eclipse Awaken Realms $3,652,859 18,361
Firefly: The Game 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition Gale Force 9 $2,738,524 10,787
Andromeda's Edge Cardboard Alchemy $1,645,205 10,138
Food Chain Magnate: Special Edition Lucky Duck Games $1,493,169 5,489
Scarface 1920: Bloody Business Redzen Games $1,154,273 6,548
Ravaged Star: Armies of the Veil-Touched MiniWarGaming $1,153,912 3,939
Source: Gamefound

The ecosystem of creators on Gamefound is far, far smaller than that on Kickstarter. Świerkot said that it hosted 142 successful campaigns, compared to Kickstarter’s 4,920. But while the Brooklyn-based public benefit corporation has been courting smaller creators with projects like make/100 and Zine Quest, Gamefound has been busy landing bigger fish. Successes include Chip Theory Games’ (Too Many Bones, Hoplomachus) latest effort, The Elder Scrolls: Betrayal of the Second Era, and a reprint of Gale Force 9’s Firefly: The Game. That puts its per-project average at $394,366, compared to Kickstarter’s reported $45,982.

Świerkot’s other company, Awaken Realms, laid a hefty finger on the scale with three of Gamefound’s top 10 most-funded games of the year — Nemesis: Retaliation, STALKER: The Board Game, and Dragon Eclipse. The success of the Polish company speaks to Europe’s pent-up demand for novel new tabletop experiences, and the overall growth of the global tabletop industry.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.